So Was That My Summer?

W/b 1st September

It seems this week that summer is officially over; or at least the academics with whom I interact have all started sending out emails again.  Great, I’ve not as of yet managed a holiday (2nd year in a row) and the time off I’ve got pencilled in over the coming weeks is looking like its in serious danger from competing commitments already.  Gah.

Meanwhile I’ve been slogging on with the theory chapter, finally putting fingers to keyboard to start pulling together my arguments for/against the various ideas I’ve got.  As of this post its all still very much a mishmash and I’m far from happy about it; although there are brief moments when suddenly everything becomes so clear – but these are fleeting.

Continuing on with my “social media holiday” which to date no one has actually picked up on (perhaps they’re grateful for the online silence for a change).  Wonder if I’ll manage to keep it up for the whole month as planned – perhaps by then the irritating ice bucket/back to school/fabulous holiday posts will have all buggered off?  I can only hope.

In no order of importance – interesting things this week:

  • The Fappening (which remains a less pejorative term than “celebratory picture hack” that most news agencies are going with.).  From a media/culture standpoint its been interesting seeing the lid lifted not on the celebs, but on the online trading subculture of illicitly appropriated images.  It’s piqued my curiosity as an academic, but I don’t think I’ll be putting in a post-doc funding application on the subject, as Mrs Llama would kill me.  Not to mention of course, from a critical standpoint, the way the media has roundly grabbed on this has also been fascinating to watch unfolding (in real time) vs the comments in the various forums/redits/chans discussing the issue.  Suspect I will be flagging this up as a topic for discussion in this year’s SOC101 seminars somewhere.  Loved the description in one report of “The hacker 4Chan” being mentioned; le sigh, you can lead a journalist to news, but you can’t make them think.  Even The Guardian’s gone a bit Daily Mail with outraged articles on the subject.  I suspect in the long run what this will mean, will be yet more badly thought out privacy protection laws for the bourgeois elite and repressions for the common prole.  Small bet with myself that despite these being (largely) US celebs targeted, that the UK gets new legislation rushed through first…small world conservatism strikes again.  See here for an interesting article on the whole thing from a slightly more dispassionate information securities POV.  Oh and of course some tips on how to protect your own pictures in the cloud (all of mine are of chickens or food mind you).
  • Lecturing: Had a confirmation on my lecturing (seminaring anyway) on the two modules, so just waiting on the contract now.  Also been asked to give a lecture on my thesis to a 2nd year class by my supervisor.  Not until next year, but it’ll be something to look forward to/stress about.  No idea if I get paid…suspect not, but might see what I can weasel out of my supervisor – I’ve a newly acquired Netflix habit to fund (seems to have replaced my comic book habit!).  Also…one more script to mark (student having submitted it to the wrong area, gah!)
  • Employment: Started negotiations via email with my tutors to let them know I’m already thinking/worrying about how I make ends meet once I finish y studentship next September.  Got a bit rebuffed (sense there’s not a strong bidding culture in my school), but at least I’ve started to remind them I need cash…and am keen to develop my career!  Annoyingly most of the funding calls I’ve seen for post-docs so far, need you to have submitted already – so suspect there’s going to be a bit of a funding gap end of 2015.

W/b 8th September

It’s been a much more positive week this week, as having finally put a book to Latour to bed on Monday (struggling to understand actor-network theory), I was finally able to get on with trying to assemble the chapter more fully in the middle to latter half of the week.  Surprisingly I’ve found I’m rather enjoying it; even if I am seriously in need of a holiday as my energy levels are through the floor at the moment.  All the same the change of pace to writing about my work and trying to construct a credible/robust theoretical framework is a lot more interesting than just trying to read about what others have done.  Plus on top of this I’ve managed to make decent notes on all the books and papers I’ve read in the past 6 weeks; which makes drawing it together a lot easier (thank you Evernote!)

  • Marking: Finally gave the students their marks back.  Hope they’re happy, cos some of them still were under performing a bit.
  • Copyright: Got asked to go help run/speak at a copyright event over in Wales later this year.  After a bit of discussion and negotiation (whereby I had to explain I’m not a (c) guru, but I know a lot about alternatives to it) looks like this on.  Might even find myself running a workshop the following day for academics on the subject; although that bit is still open to some further disucssions next week.  Got asked as part of this what my charges were for this sort of thing…erm, not quite sure what I should be charging for consultation work…suggestions welcomed!
  • Contract: Got my contract through for my lecturing, along with my timetable.  Will be teaching 4hrs a week come Feb 2015, buyt thankfully only 2hrs before that.  Some of the 1st years might get mightily sick of me I suspect.  Hope its as positive an experience as it was last year.  Oh, and best of all – I got a teeny tiny pay rise of around £2/hour (there’s a lot of “free labour” I’m expected to give over the salried time), which makes me on paper at least on an £80k/pa salary.  Yeah…don’t think that will actually work out for the next job.
  • Conferencing: Looked at the timetable for next week – three days of conferencing in Leicester. Should be interesting – just hope I can stay awake!
  • Social media: Gave in and went back on Facebook.  Still off twitter after 2.5weeks (not that anyone seems to have noticed mind you – maybe they think I’m on the holiday of a lifetime…)

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